Meet the Park Avenue Army, Supporting Penn State Women’s Soccer Since 2011
If you’ve ever seen a colonial man with a fantastic beard making his way toward Jeffrey Field with a vuvuzela in tow, you were not hallucinating. Instead, you were witnessing the epitome of women’s soccer fandom heading to his natural habitat. Mike Mulligan is the Vice President of Park Avenue Army, ruling alongside Eric Faust, President and Spiritual Leader.
So what exactly is Park Avenue Army? The Army is a fan club as crazy about women’s soccer as America was in 1999 (the year Mia Hamm victory danced in her sports bra, and Switching Goals came out on VHS). Since 2011 they’ve attended every home game (and a few away, too) in support of the Penn State women’s soccer team.
Treasurer Declan Wilson believes that their mission is, “to pretty much go to the games and go nuts to pump our girls up.”
Legend has it that Mulligan came to Penn State with nothing but the colonial costume on his back (this may or may not be true). He was looking for something fun and unique to do when he found a friend in Faust. The two decided to attend the women’s soccer game that fateful evening and from there, Wilson says, “it became a thing.”
A thing it did indeed become. The boys decided that the girls soccer team was just as deserving of a crazy supportive student section as any other sport.
“We love the sport and found that the girls really appreciated the fact that we came out and cheered for them,” said Faust. So, they made it their mission to make Jeffrey Stadium the most intimidating atmosphere for other schools to play in.
The Park Avenue Army, named after the avenue where the stadium is located, hosts tailgates before games, hands out prizes, and creates an ambiance that only women’s college soccer can have. At the season opener they handed out rally towels to the first 300 fans to show up. If that’s not a motivator, I don’t know what is.
All the while, Mulligan sports his colonial outfit. If you’re wondering what that’s about, apparently it’s just something he decided to buy his freshman year.
Their twitter shows just how much fun they have (road trips AND body paint?!):
Last year, they even ventured to San Diego to watch their gals compete in the college cup. On November 30 the group filled the stadium at the NCAA tourney.
“San Diego was amazing! It helped us PAA members bond with one another as well as the team, and it was definitely one of my best PSU memories so far,” Faust said.
Sadly, the women’s team lost to North Carolina 4-1. Wilson is still too shaken by the lost to comment further.